Before I tell about Saturday, I have to start a couple years before that. I'd been reading Beth Moore's blog for awhile, and she announced in 2008 that she was going to have an online summer Bible study and would see how many women she could get to join in. She was going to lead Kelly Minter's No Other Gods study. The response was overwhelming as 6,000 of us around the world decided to study together for six weeks.
Beth said you could do the study however you wanted--with a friend, as a group, or go solo. But then she said, "Maybe some of you who are going solo are tired of going it alone. Why don't you check the roll call here on the blog and see if someone else will do the study with you?" Now I am kind of a loner by nature, but I really was tired of studying alone all the time. So, I did something completely uncharacteristic of me and checked the roll. I clicked through a lot of different names until I saw one woman's name who lived maybe an hour and a half from me. Since hers was a town I'd actually been to, I decided to email her and see what she said. I wasn't really expecting to hear back, but Cindy replied back right away and said she'd love to work together.
So began our friendship. We did that study together, another one last summer (Jennifer Rothschild's "Me, Myself, and Lies,"), and then the study this winter of Beth's new book, "So Long, Insecurity: You've Been a Bad Friend to Us." Over these past two years, Cindy and I have shared with each other from our hearts, have opened up about our weak spots, celebrated with each other about our triumphs, and prayed for each other.
You can imagine how excited I was when Cindy invited me to attend the So Long, Insecurity simulcast nearby where she lives this past Saturday. It took me about three seconds to check my schedule and say, "I'm in!" Not to mention getting to hear Beth Moore and her worship leader, Travis Cottrell, (Cindy and I high-fived each other via email when we heard he would be there. We love Travis.), we would finally get to meet!
We got there when the doors opened on Saturday morning, knew each other right away, hugged, and started yakking right off the bat like we were old friends. The event was held in a large fellowship hall of a church.
When we got in, along one wall we saw tables full of beautiful bead jewelry, scarves, and purses for sale. We took a closer look and saw that they were for sale in support of the ministry Women At Risk, International. Wow, what a fantastic organization. They provide safe houses for women rescued from human trafficking. They provide them with the training and tools to create for their livelihood. Ninety percent of the proceeds from sales go straight back into these safehouses (10% goes toward shipping costs).
Cindy and I had a great time shopping. Here's what I got...
Two necklaces for me:
Some of the necklaces even had tags with the name and age of the woman who made them on it. Mine didn't, but each time I wear them, I plan to pray for the rescued woman who put this beautiful piece together--I don't know her name, but I know God does.
I got two little beaded dolls for Lucy and Elaine (I was sure they would especially love their earrings, and I was right):
After that, we got settled, and the simulcast began--it was broadcasting from outside Atlanta, Georgia. The emcee said that normally they have a few thousand people for Beth's simulcasts, but unbelievably, there were 300,000 women across the United States and Canada. There were about 200 of us at our location, but the thought of being together that day with 300,000 of us--wow! There were even 100 women from Kodiak, Alaska, joining in (and it was 6:45 in the morning for them!)
We kicked things off with Travis, and it would be useless to try and describe how wonderful that was in just words. Then Beth took the stage and taught for probably and hour and a half from Ephesians 4. We had a 90-minute lunch break, then Beth taught again for another hour and a half. It hardly seemed like any time at all, because everyone was riveted.
I knew from the book that her message wasn't going to be, "Feel secure because we're God's princesses, girls!" but I still wasn't totally expecting to have my world rocked like it was. She had six points on how we can be secure, based on Ephesians. Here are the points and what I learned personally from each:
Saved from ourselves: How many times have I walked in a room and taken inventory to see if there's anyone thinner, more educated, better dressed, more liked and appreciated than I am there? So gross. How freeing to be saved from a constant preoccupation with my self.
Entitled to God's truth: According to Ephesians 4, I need to continually remember what I've been taught. I've been given great truth; now focus on it!
Clothed in intention: Nobody is born secure. It's an intentional act of the mind and will.
Upended by grace: I've been given so much incredible grace. How can I not extend it to others? In the Greek, it actually says, "Grace others as you have been graced."
Rebounded by love: May I be like the apostle John, who always referred to himself as "the one whom Jesus loved"--not because he was conceited, but because he realized how much Christ loved him. May I walk into a room, not with an empty cup, needing others to fill it, but with a full cup of love ready to pour onto others.
Exceptional in life: This was my favorite part. If I hold on to all those points above, I will be exceptional. Beth closed this way, and I don't think I'll forget it as long as I live. She said, "Let it be said of you: Nobody could go through anything that painful...except her. Nobody could show her face in church after what happened...except her. Nobody could rely on God after that...except her. All high school girls are petty...except her. Nobody was a friend to me in that group of people...except her. Nobody feels like a woman after she's had a mastectomy...except her." Then she said, "When you're the exception, people will ask you, 'Why are you like that? How do you do it?' and you'll be able to say, 'Oh, I'd be just like everyone else...except Jesus.'"
She closed the message after that with prayer and then had us stand and speak to each other. She said, "We're going to have the biggest commissioning ever--300,000 of us! We need to change the face of our culture, for ourselves and for every baby girl that is born." So we commissioned each other in the words of Ephesians to be secure in Christ. You can read the commissioning statement here. (I'm pretty sure there weren't many dry eyes by the time we were done!)
I thought of my own two precious girls and how different life can be for them if I clothe myself in intention and pass along these awesome truths that I learned on Saturday.
And to Cindy, I'm so glad we're friends! Here's to a life of true security! (Oh, and meet ya again on email for the summer study!)